CAG report: Government-Opposition headed for prolonged stand-off
A prolonged confrontation in Parliament over the alleged Coal scam loomed large with the NDA today demanding resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and threatening to further disrupt proceedings while the Congress rejected it outright.
On a day when both the Houses of Parliament were rocked by the CAG report on coal allocation suggesting a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore, the Prime Minister said "satisfactory anwsers" would be given to all issues if a debate was allowed.
The two Houses, which were adjourned till noon following uproarious scenes, could not transact any business barring the smooth and unanimous election of P J Kurien of the Congress to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Again when they met for the Zero Hour, members from the BJP-led NDA rushed to the well of both the Houses demanding resignation of the Prime Minister and the Government over the prime minister's "moral and direct" responsibility in coal allocation as Minister in-charge of Coal department. Members of the AIADMK and TDP also joined the protest.
Government rejected the demand for Singh's resignation as "preposterous" and accused the Opposition of "trying to make an issue out of nothing" but the BJP said it will not relent till its demand is met.
A battery of ministers including P K Bansal, Salman Khurshid and Kapil Sibal rejected the demand for the prime minister's resignation. They attacked the Opposition saying the coal block allocation was made on the basis of recommendations of state governments ruled by non-UPA parties.
Singh himself said the government is ready for any debate and give satisfactory answers to all issues raised.
"We are ready for any debate," he told reporters, adding "We can give satisfactory answers to all issues being raised."
Sibal said, "Our PM can never do anything wrong. And if anyone levels such allegations that the PM has done something wrong, then there is no correctness (or) fact in that allegation."
He said coal-bearing states of Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress was not in power, had opposed allocation of coal mines to private firms through competitive bidding or auction.
BJP's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha and party spokesperson Ravi Shanker Prasad and his colleague M Venkaiah Naidu gave enough indications that the confrontation in Parliament will continue.
"There are scams worth lakhs of crore of rupees but perpetrators are being protected. That is why we have decided that we will confront the government till the time it resigns and we will not stop," Naidu said.
Prasad said his party was firm on its demand for Singh's resignation and termed as "completely untenable and motivated" the attempt to blame state governments.
Government was also caught in another controversy when Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla was heard whispering to Kurien to adjourn the Rajya Sabha following the opposition uproar.